Byron Cage – Memoirs of a Worshipper

Byron Cage
Memoirs of a Worshipper
Verity Gospel Music Group (release date: June 19, 2012)
By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog.
“They’re praising God in Chicagotonight,” Byron Cage exclaims on his latest CD, Memoirs of a Worshipper.  
Recorded live in the WindyCity’s Christ Universal Temple, the new album by the “Prince of Praise and Worship” contains standalone praise songs as well as rock-infused extended P&W jams.
Cage has for the past fifteen years served as music minister for EbenezerA.M.E. Churchin Ft. Washington, Maryland.  He describes the concept behind Memoirs of a Worshipper:
“My last CD was recorded when the recession began, and the struggles people began to go through made me write a little different on that CD.  It was the type of album to build up the faith of God’s people.  For this new CD, I collectively put songs together with Aaron Lindsey that I felt would be the next level of worship. What I really wanted to bring out on this CD was to share with everybody what I’m writing and what’s in my memoirs.  Although I’m still giving the message of faith and a message of hope, this is a stronger worship album.”
Indeed, the songs evince strong craftsmanship and melody, from the opening “Gratitude,” which sets a nice tone for the project.  Vocalist Mumen “Mookie” Ngenge delivers a compelling cameo appearance on “Gratitude.”  It breaks the tradition of P&W albums opening with a brisk but unremarkable praise song akin to the introductory number of a musical.  
Fred Hammond, who seems to be making appearances on everyone’s album lately, joins Cage on “Victory.”  “Great and Mighty,” TBGB’s Pick of the Week for March 7, 2012, has “our-choir-needs-to-learn-this-song” written all over it.  “You” is a melodic ballad that sums up an overarching theme of the album: love for God who loves us even when we are not worthy of it.
“Good Anyhow,” a cover of Rudolph Stansfield’s “He’s Good Anyhow” (1990), adds a dash of traditional tartness into contemporary gospel choir music, and contains a fine vocal assist by Clifton Ross.  The performance morphs into “My Refuge,” an extroverted praise piece with a sanctified beat.
Cage saves the best for last.  “Troubles Away” is light-hearted and buoyant, the gospel equivalent of beach music, as Cage and Company encourage worshippers to wave and dance their troubles away.
Memoirs of a Worshipper succeeds because the good songwriting propels the praise and worship ambience along without dragging or extended hushed gaps.
Four of Five Stars
Picks: “Troubles Away,” “Great and Mighty”

About Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.

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